SPC11–Keynote overview and a few thoughts thrown in.

I first attended a Microsoft Conference in Las Vegas 2 years ago. It was the launch of Office 14 and Steve Ballmer bounded out onto the stage to lots of whoops and hollers. That particular keynote was all about the whizz and bang that Office 14 was brining to the party.

This years keynote didn’t start with quite as much pomp and circumstance, After all, Office 14 is now a mature product with over 18 months release time under it’s belt and i think that Jared Spataro was going to have a hard time getting anywhere near the reaction from the crowd that Steve Ballmer did 2 years ago.

He did come out with some great information, especially some nice looking info graphics around the chosen theme of Productivity Delivered.

One interesting point for me is that SharePoint has now shipped over 125,000,00 licenses to over 65000 companies around the world. if SharePoint was a standalone software company, that would place it in the top 50 software companies in the world.

The social side of the conference got a good mention, especially the phenomenon known as SharePint. An interesting X Factor style audition video featuring some well known actors such a Luke Perry and Carmen Electra added a light note of humour to the event.

Jared was followed by Jeff Teper, the Corporate vice president for the SharePoint product group to talk more about where the product team was focussing it’s attention at the present and the future. A short touch on vNext said we can expect it to grow on the good work done in 2010, but that no more details would be released this week!

Over all the keynote focussed heavily on Office 365 as I had expected, with some mentions to Windows Azure as a companion to the cloud based services supplied by Microsoft. there was also a touch on SQL Server Denali, with a live failover of a 14Tb SharePoint farm. The total failover took just 14 seconds. quite impressive.

Finally Kurt Delbene took to the stage with a quick nod to the British Engineering icon that is the Mini Cooper that he has lovingly restored.

The final part of the keynote focused on the work by NetHope, a company that pulls together 33 of the worlds aid organisation and helps organise relief efforts with SharePoint. A moving video showed the work being carried out in Haiti following the Jan 2010 earthquake. Microsoft announced a $50,000 donation that would be made following the conference and also demonstrated the application that went live to attendees right after the keynote, allowing them to vote which of the 33 organisations should get a share of the cash.

True to form, the entire application pulled in SharePoint, Windows Azure and SQL Denali to showcase what can be done.

Overall, the keynote didn’t light the fire under me had happened in November 2009, but that said, it was informative and did give me quite an insight as to where the focus is going to be over the new year for MS.

Until i get more clients wanting to send their data into the cloud though, I think my focus is going to remain firmly in the on premise arena, although I am going to have a closer look a Windows Azure and SharePoint working together.


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